Background on Puppy Mills

When you walk by a typical pet store, you'll probably see dozens of playful puppies sitting in window fronts and roaming the store. This may seem like a wonderful image, but if you saw where these poor dogs came from, you’d think twice about buying from that store.

The Harsh Reality

Most puppies sold through pet stores, a broker, and over the internet originally came from a puppy mill. These profitable breeding facilities take away almost every necessity for a dog including living space, plentiful food and water, toys and a loving master, all to get as much profit from the dogs as possible. Dogs live on wire floors, designed to let their excretions fall through, but many dogs fall into the holes and get legs and paws stuck. Most puppy mills will use a dog until it has reached its fertility max, and then the dogs are killed or passed on to other puppy mills.

Health Problems

These conditions cause the puppies to have both behavioral and physical issues. Dogs from puppy mills have been reportedly diagnosed with tons of diseases and ailments like respiratory infections and pneumonia, as well as hereditary defects. They may also have trouble interacting with people and other animals. Also, your new “purebred” puppy might not really be a purebred. Lineage records are sometimes faked to say that the dog is a purebred, when in fact, the animal is a mixed breed. Responsible breeders do not sell their dogs through pet stores.

What People Are Doing About It

Puppy protectors are trying to break this “scam cycle” by establishing a “Puppy Lemon Law” in their local communities. This type of law ensures that if the consumer finds a puppy to have disease or other health problems, the buyer can be reimbursed for the price of the dog and for the dog’s veterinarian bills.

Thanks to national and local organizations, more puppy mills are getting investigated and shut down for unhealthy conditions and abuse. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of nasty puppy mills that haven’t even been discovered yet. Many states still don’t have kennel inspections once the owner pays for a license.

There are several ways to fight puppy mills. If you wish to report a puppy mill that is making cruelty and neglect fly under the radar, contact a local humane society, animal control agency or the police department.

If you are looking for a puppy in the area, skip over the pet shop and adopt a pet from a shelter. You can also choose an on-site breeder, where you can meet the pup’s parents, see the living conditions, and meet with the breeder.

-- Submitted by Field Reporter Bridget Ashton


The Humane Society of the United States.